Daily Mail (London), May 1, 2010
A pensioner who put up a red, white and blue election poster telling voters to kick out MPs was accused of racism by police.
After being inundated by canvassing politcians, Roy Newman, 74, decided to tell other voters: ‘GET THE LOT OUT.’
But 90 minutes after he put up the homemade sign up in an upstairs room at his house, two police officers arrived and threatened with arrest.
They said the Union Jack-coloured lettering on a white background could be considered ‘racist’.
He was told there had been a single complaint and he was ordered to remove it or change it otherwise he would end up in court .
But the former Tory councillor, from North Anston, near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, said police had misunderstood his message.
He said : ‘My sign is up there because the MPs and council leadership we have in place at the moment are a load of rubbish and I want them out, nothing more.
‘The police told me that due to the fact that the words were written in red and blue and the background was white, my sign had racist connotations.
‘What a load or rubbish–it certainly wasn’t my intention to come across as racist. I’m not racist.’
And the furious pensioner , chairman of his local history society and a former Samaritan , slammed police for wasting their time.
He said : ‘Three years ago vandals put a brick through my window and when I called the police all they offered me was a crime reference number.
Defiance: Mr Newman put up the sign after being bombarded by canvassers
‘Put up a poster and a police car with two uniformed officers arrives quick as a flash–it’s unbelievable.’
In the end, under protest Roy altered the colour of some letters to yellow, but refused to change the words.
A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said: ‘Officers responded to a call from a complainant who had seen the sign and interpreted it as being racist.
‘Given this sign was displayed publicly and seemed to be causing offence we did see fit to attend the address.
‘Officers spoke to Mr Newman and were told that his words referred to councillors and MPs. WE advised him that the wording could be changed to make that fact more clear.
‘Following the officers’ visit the complainant was contacted by us and the meaning of the sign was explained . They said that they were no longer offended and were happy to let the matter rest.
‘It is unlikely that any further action will be taken.’